Understanding Microsoft Licensing (Retail, OEM and Volume)

Understand Microsoft licensing model can help your business plan for the future, stay within proper licensing agreement, as well as centralize and manage existing licensing.

For small to medium sized businesses who don't have a good grip on how to effectively leverage the licensing model typically turn to OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) model. For example, when you purchase your workstations or servers does the Operating Software(s) come pre-loaded? If yes, this is an example of OEM. When you purchase Office productivity suite(s) for your end users, does it come pre-loaded? If yes, this is yet another example of OEM.

Major Advantage(s) of OEM: Pricing might be slightly cheaper only upfront. These come pre-loaded thus saves time.

Major Disadvantage(s) of OEM: The live and die on the device as you cannot move the rights to another device. If you currently have a physical server infrastructure and elect to go virtual, all the licenses that are OEM must stay on the device.

The second licensing methodology is Retail or Full Packaged Product (FPP). You typically can purchase an over the counter version of the product both physical and paper license.

Major Advantage(s) of Retail: If for some reason you need to get an older version installed, this might be a quick way to do so. Solution focused on the consumer as well as small business.

Major Disadvantage(s) of Retail: Pricing may be a little higher as media comes with and no centralized license management.

The most popular licensing methodology is Volume Licensing Programs. You can create a main online account to fully manage the license keys and all your software's. Client must have at minimum 5 licenses on file of Microsoft product to be eligible. There are a number of programs available based on client size and needs. For larger enterprises, Microsoft has created some additional training(s) and software assurance programs you can leverage for end user productivity. Common solutions include Enterprise Agreement, Subscription, Open, Select, and others.

Major Advantage(s) of Volume Licensing: Downgrade rights allowed. Reimaging and limited transfer rights allowed.

Major Disadvantage(s) of Volume Licensing: Pricing may be a little higher.

With the onset of Office 365 (Office365), clients can add to their volume license for Office Productivity Suite (some common applications include Word, Excel, Lync, Powerpoint, etc). This program was introduced to provide end users with state of the art and current office tools without the large upfront capital expenditure as now clients can pay yearly for this tool.

For more information on all programs and offerings email us at OfferingsMicrosoft@StratosphereNetworks.com.

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